The Madhya Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced on Sunday its candidates for Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur mayoral elections to be held on January 31.
The names of party’s Bhopal district president Alok Sharma, Indore legislator Malini Gaud and Swati Godbole were finalised as mayoral candidates for Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur respectively at a meeting chaired by state BJP chief Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan, the party said.
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The BJP's state election committee, which met on Sunday, was unable to reach a consensus on the mayoral candidate for Chhindwara Municipal Corporation, the fourth municipal corporation where elections are slated to be held. The candidate for Chhindwara was likely to be announced late on Sunday, party sources said.
They said that the Sunday meeting was a mere formality where the candidates' names recommended earlier by the divisional committees — which were set up by the party prior to the local civic body polls in the state to select candidates — were read out.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former Madhya Pradesh CMs Sunderlal Patwa, Kailash Joshi, former union minister Vikram Verma, Satyanarain Jatiya, former Indore mayor Krishna Murari Moghe, former state minister Ramkrishna Kusmaria, state BJP women’s wing president Lata Wankhede and state BJP organizational general secretary Arvind Menon among others also participated at the meeting, party sources said.
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Party sources added that the decision to field Sharma from Bhopal and Gaud from Indore was taken on Saturday itself after a meeting between CM Chouhan, union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan and organisational general secretary Menon.
A formal announcement was made Sunday after the convening of state election committee meeting, they said.
Grounds for choosing Sharma as the mayoral candidate had been prepared in advance and had been an almost certainty after Bhopal mayor's post was put in the general category during reservations, party insiders said, adding that Sharma was the CM's choice.
Party sources further said that Sharma is seen as the only leader who had not been 'accommodated' against a post from among a lot of younger BJP leaders like Vishwas Sarang, Rameshwar Sharma and Surendranath Singh.
Sharma was due to contest the assembly elections from Bhopal North in 2013, but backed out of the contest. He is likely to file his nomination Monday, they added.